CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION
President’s Fund operates as a slush fund, set up at each hospital within the
network to support CME activities determined by the individual hospital to
be a topic of priority. 135 Drug and device companies are encouraged to
contribute to the fund, though companies do not know what specific CME
topics their money will support. 136 A company cannot target or direct its
contribution to any specific educational program to any specific educational
Partners designed both the ERB and the President’s Fund to limit drug
and device company influence on CME topics and content. 138 By screening
CME presentations and content for commercial bias, the ERB ensures that
CME activities offered by Partners present balanced viewpoints and
accurately reflect the research performed on individual topics. 139 Partners
only provides funding from the President’s Fund for CME programming
geared toward improving patient outcomes rather than the brand name
drugs or devices. 140 However, these procedures cannot achieve widespread
success in limiting industry bias because they are currently only
implemented at the hospital network level.
J. Disclosure over Prohibition:
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act
Congress attempted to address the inefficiencies of the ACCME
Standards for Commercial Support by implementing the Physician
Payments Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act) as part of the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Sunshine Act requires drug and device
manufacturers to disclose any direct payments, indirect payments, or other
transfers of value made to physicians.141 CMS intends to eventually publish
this data on a searchable online public database.142 Failure to report any of
these payments results in a fine of $1000 to $10,000 per violation, with a
maximum fine of $150,000.143 Knowingly failing to report results in a fine
of $10,000 to $100,000 per violation, with a maximum total fine of $1
135. See id.
136. See id.
138. See id. §§ 3. 2, 3. 4.
139. See id. § 3. 2.
140. See id. § 3. 4.
141. Physician Payments Sunshine Act, 42 U.S. C. A. § 1320a-7h(a)( 1)( A) (West,
WestlawNext through P.L. 113-36).
142. Id. § 1320a-7h(c)( 1)( C).
143. Id. § 1320a-7h(b)( 1).